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Covid vs Freedom: Battle intensifies in UK

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All of this at a time when Britain is reporting more than 30,000 new coronavirus cases a day, hospitals are coming under renewed strain, and preliminary data shows that the protection provided by the vaccines ebbs several months after the second dose.

Such is the strange new phase of Britain’s pandemic: The public has moved on, even if the virus has not. Given that Britain has been at the vanguard of so many previous coronavirus developments — from incubating variants to rolling out vaccines – experts say this could be a glimpse into the future for other countries.

“We don’t seem to care that we have these really high infection rates,” said Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London who has been leading a major study of Covid-19 symptoms. “It looks like we’re just accepting it now- that this is the price of freedom.”

Some of that equanimity may stem from the fact that Britain’s case rate, while high, has not yet risen anywhere near the level that government officials predicted when they lifted virtually all COVID restrictions last month. Some may be because so many Britons are vaccinated, fewer serious cases are being reported. And some of it may simply reflect fatigue, after 17 months of baleful headlines and stifling lockdowns. (NYT)

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